My Blog Story

I’ve just joined a new little family #Edublogsclub and set myself yet another challenge of writing a weekly blog based on a prompt (just don’t tell my PhD supervisor!).

I began blogging about 4 years ago as part of my new adventure out in the big wide world. I wanted to try my hand as an education consultant after 30 years in schools. Consulting wasn’t new to me. I had been representing my schools at conferences and through a number of professional learning education agencies for years. I just felt I could do more as a free agent. So along with other social media platforms including twitter (@JoPrestia) I started this blog.

My twitter page

I like to think out loud through writing so thought this could be a great way to do it. I blog about everything educational including adventures in the classroom, relief teaching, conferences, coaching, consulting work in schools and with teachers, teaching and learning with pre-service teachers, my PhD & family and friends.

There is learning in everything.

I’m proud to say I have a little following and every now and then I get feedback. However, I don’t write to get comments or praise (though it is nice!). I just write because I like it. It helps me think – in writing.

I also love reading other blogs, mainly educational, including fellow PhDs and a myriad of great teachers who provoke my thinking. I love the Thesis Whisperer and Pat Thomson for my PhD advice, and others I enjoy reading, including @debsnet, Chris Munroe, Mark Weston, Jon Harper to name but just a few. I don’t always read posts immediately. Instead, I have long binge sessions regularly where I try to catch up. I also stumble on many great blog posts via twitter and my facebook page.

Bed chat

I try to use my time wisely though I am an A grade procrastinator! Sometimes I’m even shocked at how I get everything done! Even now I’m sitting in a nail salon waiting… so taking the opportunity to begin composing this blog on my iPhone. When it rains…

So that’s my blog story… never ending…

(What you have just read was finalised in the comfort of my own work space at home and my trusty mac!).

Thanks for reading 🙂

Writing about not writing: A mis-diagnosis

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via GIPHY

What is it about writer’s block that just cannot be broken for days and sometimes weeks on end? I’ve been suffering it for weeks now and not sure when it will end. I have been reading and thinking and procrastinating and even losing sleep over it. It’s like all of these great ideas are rolling around in my head and yet I cannot get them out.

Last week I facilitated a workshop for newly arrived international PhD students and heard myself telling them that if there is no writing then there is no review or feedback to get. I heard myself telling them more than once yet I am not doing it myself! Do as I say not as I do and all that. A terrible case of imposter syndrome has gripped me and I feel desperately desperate.

Many months ago just after my confirmation and a week before my main supervisor left for a 6 month sabbatical, she set me a mountain of work to do. I passed my first milestone – confirmation – without amendments and in fact the panel was suitably impressed but that was short lived once my supervisor was gone. In that time we took on another supervisor and parted amicably with our associate supervisor. I met with the new supervisor, acting chief, a couple of times to talk and discuss where to from confirmation. He helped me review my ethics paperwork which was granted four weeks later as was ethics application to Catholic Education Melbourne and I even have the principal’s support from the research school. And yet I cannot write.

Further to this, the mountain of work my main supervisor left me included to read more and write up my lit review and methodology chapters. I have been reading but the latter two I haven’t started, although as I sit in front of the television on my mobile phone typing this first draft I realise I have done a little writing on two topics maybe 800 words in all. Surely that’s not enough is it? I have read and taken notes on many articles and am reading off and on two books my co supervisor offered in our first meeting (he doesn’t know that).

Last week I re-visited my rejected article co-written (well … sort of) with a previous supervisor on my minor research looking at relationships between teachers and teacher aides. I’ve decided that I want to do it over on my own but different, so last week I spent two days listening to the interview tapes again and reading through the transcripts but I did not write. I did practice some opening lines in my head as I did the washing and cooking and cleaning and other procrastinations but I DID NOT write. Why?

All this I did as well as attending several meetings at Uni to do with my work not my PhD and re-working my workshop for non-funded students, prepping questions for our monthly #survivephd twitter chat, as well as working on a coaching model review for one school and preparing proposals for schools who are enquiring about professional learning in 2017.

I’m a part-time PhD student and am currently in a state of non-academic-writing … or am I?

Having just written this post here on a recliner on my iPhone, it makes me feel a whole lot better and in fact I may have mis-diagnosed my condition.

I don’t have writer’s block. I may have a little imposter syndrome but certainly not writer’s block.

Tomorrow I shall write some more.
Thanks for reading 🙂

Quilting a Bricolage: Step Two

I just wanted to say that yesterday afternoon I finally received ethics approval from Monash University. This means that I’m one step closer to beginning the research data collection process. Am I excited? Absolutely!

via GIPHY

I now have to wait for the Catholic Education Melbourne office to approve my ethics application. After that, I get to send a letter to the principal of the school at which I will be doing the research. This is the easy part as the principal is supportive of the project and willing to give me time and place to carry it out. There are so many hoops to go through before one can actually do research and mine is quite straight forward. I cannot imagine the process for those dealing with more complicated forms of research.

Once permission letters are signed off by the school, the recruitment process begins. I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Take Outs: Day 2 Evidence-based teaching summit 2016

University of Bologna by Laurentius de Voltolina c.1350

University of Bologna by Laurentius de Voltolina c.1350

Take a close look at the medieval painting above what do you notice?

Has anything changed in classrooms today? Of course yes there are no devices, I’m speaking mostly about engagement – 24:1, only 6 paying any attention, the rest seem disengaged, with more than one having a little snooze.

Now how about this one?

Raphael, School of Athens, 1509-11

Raphael, School of Athens, 1509-11

Ron Canuel (CEA) opened Day 2 of proceedings giving us insights into the research done at CEA. He says that much of education has been hijacked by others and that it is indeed time we took it back. We certainly all know (I hope) that standarised tests do not lead to improvement in the educational outcomes of students, however, they do benefit real estate agents! According to Canuel – everyone wants to live in a catchment area of what is considered a ‘good’ school (and no I’m not elaborating).

Oh and the second painting above? Well, Ron mentioned something that really struck a chord with me, he said that education change should look like the Renaissance with a lot more emphasis on all subjects. School of Athens is how I imagine a classroom should be, collaboration, thinking, genius, excitement, movement, passion, reflection, ordered chaos —–> can you hear it?

26% & rising...kids who are not dealing with school recommended reading from Daffydd Wiesner-Ellix (CBD Strategic)

26% & rising…kids who are not dealing with school recommended reading from Daffydd Wiesner-Ellix (CBD Strategic)

My next take out is about teacher quality. There is no measure for an effective teacher (Gary Marks, ACU). A teacher who may be effective in one classroom may not be in a different one let alone in another school. So where is the teaching profession heading? Tania Aspland (AITSL) argued that we could easily devise a how-to manual becoming an expert teacher the same as one might consult a how-to manual on becoming an expert golfer or tennis player. The first chapter in this manual would, of course, be OBSERVATION and the STANDARDS provide us with something against which to measure our progress. So, where can we make the greatest impact in the context of our place and time (Neil Barker, DET) in schools? Can educators, as Susannah Emery (Curtin University) asks, be ‘quest givers’ given the strong attachment our current students have towards gaming? Perhaps the Teaching & Learning Toolkit presented by Tanya Vaughan might just assist us in making the greatest impact happen in our classrooms, where they belong.

The highlight of the summit for me was meeting and sitting next to David Mitchell, Adjunct Professor (College of Educational Studies and Leadership), University of Canterbury, NZ. He delivered the final keynote address. Of course, while chatting at the table over the two days, I did all the talking about my research before it dawned on me just who he was – for those who don’t know his research is in diverse needs of students and inclusion and if you follow my blog you would know that my PhD is in special needs!!!! I spent the night after the first day of the conference reading up on Dr. Mitchell and got my hands on an online copy of his book. I have since read a number of journal articles and will hold true to emailing him to discuss his research, ask questions and gain first-hand insights as I journey through my PhD.

Dr. Mitchell also commented on my note-taking so here I place the sketchnote I completed as he spoke…now I would have added so much more but I really enjoyed just listening. I think I’ve got enough for you to get the picture of just how much wisdom this man has offered me especially as I continue my PhD. I secretly hope too, that Dr. Mitchell might read this post one day and see it for himself for I was not confident to show him on the day.

Sketchnote -Dr. Mitchell's keynote

Sketchnote -Dr. Mitchell’s keynote


 

Question: Can Principals significantly influence learning in their schools? (Helal & Coelli, 2016)

Fact: 24% of ALL students and 40% of those who are disadvantaged are at risk of reading failure in Australian primary schools. The explicit teaching of literacy covering the BIG5 may assist (Kerry Hempenstall – Case Study presentation).


 

One more thing – Whilst Radmila Harding was a little apprehensive about being the very last speaker of the conference and wondered if there would be anyone left to hear her presentation I have to say it was engaging, and well I’m also going to say … FUN! There were hands-on activities and videos to make us laugh… and so it ended… happily. The take home message not only from Radmila’s presentation but I think from the whole conference:

Let’s work collaboratively to build a team that won’t fall down so all may benefit and grow in their experience and journey of learning and living.

And yes there were enough people left who enjoyed it right to the end.

End of Day 2

Thanks for reading 🙂

Day 1 – EBT reflection

Quilting a bricolage: Step One

#acwri

#acwri

I took yesterday’s blog hour off firstly because it was my birthday but more importantly, I was preparing for my first PhD milestone – Confirmation – which happened this morning. I have never been as nervous about anything before – so nervous in fact that my palms were sweaty! Of course once I got into it all was fine and even though I say this myself I was quite pleased with how it went. Turns out the panel did too! They passed me with no amendments, although they did offer some ideas that they encouraged me to think about – but otherwise – first milestone – PASSED! Yayyy!

Long way to go yet but apparently this hurdle is the most difficult and I’m glad it worked out because after two years of reading, thinking, writing, doubting, celebrating, doubting, thinking, doubting, writing 10, 000 word proposal, doubting, doubting, doubting (get the picture?), I would have been devastated if they had dismissed my proposal completely or even if I had to drastically change some aspect. I’m so invested in it I think I would have cried – although I’ll admit I did well up when they accepted my proposal without amendments. I can’t wait to get in there and begin data collection. My next step is to get ethics approval forms ready and submitted! I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks for reading 🙂